GE to start building 100 MW wind farm in Kenya next year

General Electric (GE) plans to begin construction of a 100 MW wind power farm in Kenya early next year and expects it to be up and running within 18 months after that, a company executive said on Thursday.

Kenya is pushing to expand its power generation capacity by 5,000 MW by 2017 from about 1,700 MW now to reduce tariffs, tackle power shortages and cut costs of doing business. It plans to do this by tapping renewable source like wind and geothermal energy.

The GE wind power project, which will cost about $300 million to build, is located in the Kipeto area of Kajiado county in the Rift Valley.

George Njenga, head of GE's distributed power business in sub-Saharan Africa, told reporters that construction would begin almost immediately after financial details are finalised in early 2015, and that the farm would begin supplying power to the grid 12-18 months later. "Eighteen months is a safe date," he said.

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Other investors in the project include the World Bank's investment arm International Finance Corporation and Kenyan renewable energy company Craftskills Wind Energy International Limited. The project is also expected to get financing from the U.S. government's Power Africa programme.

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Kajiado county General Electric